I have work to do today. I have done very little of it because it looks like the Superchristians have released another definitive thesis like the Nashville Statement. Let's talk about it, shall we?
If you're not a Christian, you may be turned off a bit by the "Christian-ese" within. As a Christian, I feel like I am highly qualified to translate this document for you and show you why it's doo-doo for dummies.
So the intro isn't too bad - on the surface it even seems noble! These Christians feel like society is misrepresenting their beliefs and they want to set the record straight. That's reasonable, right?
If you read that, you'll see why not. Specifically, this sentence: "The Bible's teaching on each of these subjects [race, sex, gender] is being challenged under the broad and somewhat nebulous rubric of concern for 'social justice.'" Notice that this document never defines social justice either. But it's bad. Somehow. Let's check it out!
ARTICLE I: SOLO SCRIPTURA, BUT ONLY THE PARTS I LIKE
Each of these articles is comprised of two parts: an AFFIRM and a DENY. We'll see that most of the AFFIRM sections are written in a way to seem very reasonable and impossible to argue with. This is done to lower your defenses for when the real tricky stuff happens later. In addition, this is a defense against later criticism, wherein Christians who agree with this document will use the AFFIRM sections to defend the positions in the DENY.
Thus, in the AFFIRM section, we're not seeing anything outside of standard Christian doctrine. We're not totally sure how God "breathed out" scripture. And when Christians say the Bible is infallible, we're not really concerned with its descriptions of minor historical events, but that when the Bible speaks to us about who God is, who we are, and the gospel, that the Bible is totally correct. This of course means that any philosophy or belief system which contradicts what is in the Bible must be false.
Then we get to the DENY section. They deny that "postmodern ideologies" have authority. What does "postmodern" mean? What are these people talking about? So often "postmodern" is used as a buzzword meant to stir up feelings of distrust. We have this mental container of things we term postmodern, things we dislike. If someone wants you to distrust an idea before understanding it, all they have to do is call it a postmodern idea and you'll put it in that mental container. That's what this document does with intersectionality, radical feminism, and critical race theory. Screw science! These are scary postmodern ideologies. We shouldn't learn anything from the world God made - just the book He wrote that never covered the topic of science.
Notice also the bonus term "radical feminism." Not just feminism by itself, but "radical." This is a distancing tactic. If you claim this document is anti-woman, they can always say it's just the radicals they hate. Since they haven't defined radical feminism, there is nothing to say they won't just lump any feminism they personally dislike in with the radicals in a means to dismiss them all.
ARTICLE II: YOU'RE ALL SPECIAL
No problems here, at least if this were the only part of this manifesto. However, when we see the content of the later articles, we see the true purpose of this: gaslighting.
Imagine if you told your spouse, "I love you, but you're a stupid idiot." Then they said, "hey you just called me an idiot." You reply, "nuh-uh, I said I love you. You can't get mad at me now." That's this article. By setting themselves up to call all men and women equally loved and valuable under God, they intend to stop you from protesting when they inevitably deny the value of certain people. After all, they just said you were valuable! How could you complain when they insist minorities are oppressed peoples?
ARTICLE III: NON-SOCIAL JUSTICE
Imagine with me a totally hypothetical scenario in which a president - let's call him Schmill Schminton - used his position of power to have sex with a woman who was not his wife. Now in this admittedly unlikely scenario, Christians are incensed and demand the president be impeached. But 20 years later, a new president, uh, Schmonald Schmump, cheats on his wife with a pornstar and then pays her off so she won't tell anyone about it since he's running for office. The same Christians are remarkably silent. Would that be an example of "notions of virtue and vice that are constantly in flux"?
Oh no, I forgot, social justice is the bad one.
ARTICLE IV: APPARENTLY CHRISTIANS ARE STILL UNDER THE LAW
The ten commandments? What are these people on? One of the commandments is to keep the Sabbath day holy. If you work on a Sunday are you living in sin?
Furthermore, the definition of obligations in the DENY section is narrow - the ten commandments or two great commandments, manifested in Jesus' life. This is very convenient for these Christians, since aspects of social justice are merely implied in many cases and not outright stated. If those social justice warriors are making you feel bad, you just gotta remind yourself that the morality they claim isn't word-for-word from the Old Testament, so you can rest easy knowing you don't have to do shit. And you have nothing to repent of since the Bible never told you not to cheer for cops shooting black people in the streets!
ARTICLE V: WAAAAAH SINCE WHEN IS IT WRONG TO BE PROUD OF BEING WHITE WAAAAAH
Hey, we only share the guilt of our ancestors if we specifically condone it! I didn't personally own slaves so I don't owe reparations! Get off my back! Just 'cause I'm white and my ancestors massively benefitted from the disparity of rights and wealth between them and black people, a benefit that I personally experience, doesn't mean I have to be socially conscious and do my part to eradicate inequality waaaaaaah.
ARTICLE VI: A CASTRATED GOSPEL
"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?"
The gospel as described in this article is an emasculated, feckless gospel that's all about some mental picture you have of Jesus. This gospel is merely a list of facts that you just have to believe. Just trust in Jesus as Lord! Whatever that means! Sure, living justly and doing right are fine, but it's not in the gospel anywhere (except in all of the books of New Testament but whatever) so those darn SJWs are anti-Biblical!
ARTICLE VII: WE SHALL SIN THAT GRACE MAY INCREASE
From the previous article we see that the gospel (according to these people) is just "things you believe personally that have no impact on your behavior." So when they say that salvation does not "[render] any Christian free from all remaining sin or immune from even grievous sin in this life," it's hard not to see this as permissiveness. After all, the gospel does not demand justice, so if it turns out that you're sinning by not seeking social justice, well - it's just another grevious sin in this life that doesn't deny salvation to you. There's no reason to behave! Just say the magic words and Jesus has to save you! Sin all you want, people!
ARTICLE VIII: CHURCH IS A BUILDING YOU GO TO AND PRAY AND STUFF BUT PLEASE DON'T ASK ME TO LOVE BLACK PEOPLE
Good grief, that AFFIRM section is a fantasy world unto its own. The church has had a positive effect? Uh, not with the Spanish Inquisition and slavery!
Oh wait it says "when the primacy of the gospel is maintained." I forgot. It's just a No True Scotsman argument.
Then we get the DENY section, which opens with a bang: apparently political and social activism aren't parts of the gospel! Let's just ignore anything Jesus said I guess. And in the very next section, we have the words "lawful" and "laws" used without any clarification of whether those are society's laws or God's laws. If they are society's laws, we're saying that we should only be allowed to protest society's laws in ways that follow society's laws. Should we live in a society that forbids protest, then... it would be unchristian to protest ungodly laws.
"We deny that these activities are either evidence of saving faith..."
So the book of James is out.
"...or constitute a central part of the church's mission..."
So what does the church do? We just go into a building and sing songs and pray and learn how to stop touching ourselves at night? Who are we helping if we are not engaged in social and political justice?
"We deny that laws or regulations possess any inherent power to change sinful hearts."
Uh, who is making the argument that laws are intended to make people think and feel different? Laws are enacted in societies to keep those societies functioning. We know that people have evil inclinations and the laws remind us of those evils and warn us of the justice that will come down if we break them. Literally no one thinks that "do not murder" is intended to make people want to not murder. This is just another one of those arguments from your fucking stupid right-wing friends that we shouldn't ban guns because people are just going to sin anyway. But of course those idiots still think banning abortion is fine, or banning hard drugs.
ARTICLE IX: HERESY IS WHEN YOU TELL ME TO LOVE MY GAY NEIGHBOR
Since we know from previous articles that the gospel here is defined as merely a private enterprise, a thought experiment between you and God. Therefore, any message that says we must have works to prove our faith must be the "elevation of non-essentials to the status of essentials." Ha-ha! Those SJWs are the REAL heretics! Excuse me while I go comment on a Facebook post and say that Black Lives Matter is a terrorist organization.
Hey wait stop calling me a heretic. It says here that you can't bring the charge of heresy to "every failure to achieve perfect conformity to all that is implied in sincere faith!" I'm sincere in my faith! If I make a mistake, you can't accuse me of heresy! Don't listen to what I say or do - just what I think and feel in my heart.
ARTICLE X: THERE BETTER NOT BE LESBIANS IN HEAVEN OR THIS IS GOING TO BE REALLY, REALLY AWKWARD FOR ME PERSONALLY
Why oh why is homosexuality the only sexual sin we care about? And why is salvation all about making people not-gay? If being gay is a sin, but the gospel is merely a belief system, and salvation cannot be denied despite the most grevious sins... then there's nothing stopping a Christian from being gay. These guys have contradicted themselves.
That's not even getting into the scientific problems. Intersex is a thing. It's a thing that happens. The XX/XY dichotomy is an oversimplification at best. Most people fit into that sexuality, but sex really is fluid. It really is a spectrum. So either everyone who happens to be born with the "wrong" sexuality is a living embodiment of sin, or we close our eyes and plug our ears and yell "LALALALA" in the face of science. This document is asking us to deny the truth before us to adhere to a rigid and debatable interpretation of Scripture. Why is it that people have to hand in their brains in order to be Christians? Like, being a bigot or a moron is already tough, but why do we gotta be both?
ARTICLE XI: GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN HA HA HA
See, men have XY chromosomes and women have XX chromosomes. That means that you, a woman, should listen to me, a man. Wives shouldn't take charge in a household and I definitely don't want to see any of them women preaching in a church. Ugh!
But we deny that these differences disparage the individual worth! Come on, women, we love you - you may be a subservient sex to us, but that doesn't mean you're worth less to God! Man, you women are so irritable. It's like nothing makes you happy unless you're allowed to live life as you want to because you have the same intellectual and moral capacities of men!
ARTICLE XII: DON'T LOOK AT ME *I* DIDN'T OWN SLAVES
Wow - so woke! These people admit "race" is a social construct and say we're all brothers and sisters! Surely that means we should all work to bring equality to all people because God sees us as equal. Oh wait no we're just saying that since we're all equal we've all suffered equally. If you're white you shouldn't view yourself as a privileged oppressor even if that's the natural viewpoint after studying history. If you're black you should definitely shut up about all the bad things happening to you. Haven't you heard we're all equal in Christ? It's like your identity is based entirely on race! Good thing us white people don't do that.
ARTICLE XIII: ARBEIT MACHT FREI
You can stop reading after "some cultures operate on assumptions that are inherently better than those of other cultures." You know what comes next.
It gets worse, though: "We deny that individuals and sub-groups in any culture are unable, by God's grace, to rise above [emphasis mine] whatever moral defects or spritiual deficiencies have been engendered or encouraged by their respective cultures." Holy shit. This is the White Man's Burden. "You other cultures may be depraved, but by God's grace you can be more like us Westerners."
This manifesto is ticking all the boxes, isn't it?
ARTICLE XIV: RACISM IS BAD AND ALL BUT LET'S NOT GET DISTRACTED BY NON-ESSENTIALS. ALSO ONCE I WAS CALLED A CRACKER AND IT HURT MY FEELINGS.
If you sign this document, you're going to hell. It's a heretical document that denies the transformative power of Jesus Christ and reduces the gospel to mere thoughts you have about the facts of history. It does not ask you to work to bring the kingdom of God to the lost. It does not chastise you when you turn a blind eye to the widows and orphans. It is a Christianity that has spawned from the mouth of hell. Have a nice day!